Speeches Shim

Thursday, April 8, 2021
Every day more young women join in the energy sector

Kosovo faces one of the lowest female labor force participation rates in the world, with female employment and leadership in male-dominated industries, such as power and water, almost non-existent.  However, a partnership between USAID and Kosovo’s power utility is making strides to change this.  As part of the partnership with USAID, Kosovo’s Transmission System and Market Operator (KOSTT) received management coaching from gender equality experts, as well as participated in the Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program (GEELP) at Georgetown University.  After participating in the 12-month program, KOSTT managers and decision-makers are empowered to integrate gender equality initiatives across their organization.

“Advancing gender equality in the workplace is a business imperative in today’s world,” says Arijeta Pajaziti, an engineer at KOSTT and one of three GEELP Kosovo graduates. 

With support from USAID, KOSTT made significant advancements toward workplace gender equality.  For the first time ever, senior leadership at KOSTT initiated a gender equality policy and included it as one of their 15 business targets.  The changes extended to more inclusive recruiting and hiring practices.  Adding “women are encouraged to apply” to all job advertisements resulted in women applying for technical positions at the utility for the first time in the company’s history.  A woman engineer was hired at the National Control Center for the first time in 20 years, and for the first time ever, female technicians were hired to work in substations.

Since joining USAID’s Engendering Utilities program, KOSTT has hired seven women, promoted 15 female employees, and extended training opportunities to women for the skills needed to advance their careers.  “But one of the things I am most proud of is my involvement in creating the first-ever sexual harassment and gender equality policies at KOSTT,” says Arjeta Gashi, a KOSTT Human Resources Administrative Manager and GEELP graduate.  In addition to providing leadership training and creating sexual harassment and mentorship policies, KOSTT became the first public institution in Kosovo to extend flexible working arrangements to its employees.

Last updated: May 13, 2022

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